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Coal & Allied Supports Hunter Youth Leadership Project


An outdoor education initiative aimed at building stronger communities by inspiring future generations has seen over 100 lucky Year 9 and 10 High School students from around the Hunter, NSW, complete an exclusive seven-day leadership program in the wilderness of the Northern-NSW Tweed Valley.

The course was part of not-for-profit organisation Outward Bound and the Coal & Allied Community Development Fund’s Hunter Youth Leadership Project, which is a strategic initiative designed to foster growth and leadership development in the Hunter region by providing challenging educational and social opportunities for local students.

hunter rcp hiking

Students from Maitland High School, All Saints College St Peter’s Maitland, All Saints College St Joseph’s Lochinvar, Maitland Grossman High School, Kurri Kurri High School, Francis Greenway College, Cessnock High School, St Joseph’s High School Aberdeen, Scone High School and Singleton High School were selected to receive scholarships from the Coal & Allied Community Development Fund to attend the highly regarded leadership program, which helped them stretch their comfort zones and instil a sense of self-belief, personal responsibility and teamwork through challenging physical activities such as hiking, climbing, canoeing and navigating.

hunter rcp big benJoshua Budden, 14, from Francis Greenway High School Year 9 said he learnt he could accomplish a lot more than he thought he was capable of.

“I was challenged physically with the hiking and it was quite hard for me,” said Joshua.

“I’d never done it before, but I made it through and I’m really proud.

“Outward Bound will help me in my life as now I won’t be as hesitant to do things I think I may not be able to accomplish.”

Billie-Paige Mehan, 14, also from Francis Greenway High School Year 9 agreed she was challenged on the course but was glad she applied for the scholarship.

“My highlights were canoeing, abseiling, climbing the ‘Big Ben’ tree and scaling the Giant Ladder,” said Billie-Paige.

“During the week with Outward Bound I learnt that I can do a lot of things for myself.

“But I also learnt I can’t cook!”

While Billie-Paige’s cooking skills were tested, Kali Somerville, 14, from Kurri Kurri High Year 9 said she learnt she could do anything if she pushed herself.

“I had to push my limits when camping and hiking,” said Kali.

“I have learnt things about myself that will help me in my future, such as coping with meeting new people and difficult social situations.

Mason Palmieri, teacher at Maitland High School, said the students got a lot out of the program.

“It was absolutely fantastic,” said Mr Palmieri.

“The difference in the students from the start of the week to the end was phenomenal, a life changing experience.

“The school has already given permission for a teacher from Maitland High School to go again next year. I said don’t pencil me in – put it down in pen because I’m definitely going!”

Principal Community Investment Stephen Sneddon said that Coal & Allied supports training and education programmes that build the skills, confidence and resilience of local young people.

“The Hunter Youth Leadership Project provides a unique opportunity for students in the Hunter to enhance their learning through practical and challenging activities that develop a whole range of life skills such as leadership, teamwork and commitment,” Mr Sneddon said.

“We’re proud that our Community Development Fund has partnered with Outward Bound on this project, which is helping motivate, encourage and develop the future leaders of our region.

“Since 1999, the Coal & Allied Community Development Fund has invested more than $11M in the Hunter Valley through projects such as the Hunter Youth Leadership Project. Starting from 2012, a further $4.5M has been recommitted through the fund over three years and is available for projects that build sustainability in the region.”

For more information on the Hunter Youth Leadership Project or any of Outward Bound’s other community and school programs visit or contact Jessical Shugart, free call 1800 267 999.

hunter rcp game hunter rcp rafting


Young aspiring leaders Bound for community success


Braving minus four degree temperatures in the Aussie wilderness was just one of the challenges students from across Australia braved as part of Outward Bound Australia’s National Aspiring Leaders Summit.

Thirty up-and-coming leaders from around Australia were chosen to participate in the annual summit, which is one of the country’s premier leadership events open to youth supported by The Smith Family’s Learning for Life program and supported by The Trust Company as Trustee for the Fred P. Archer Charitable Trust.

Held over seven days at Outward Bound’s National Base in the ACT, the summit included residential leadership workshops and a journey-based expedition that saw students trek through national park, participate in rock climbing, abseiling and ropes course activities and a series of physical and mental challenges that will empower them to realise they are capable of more than they may think.

nals maise cunningham  rachel field on giant ladder

As part of the Summit, the participants also identified a community action project they would like to engage with upon return to their school or community.  The program helped give students the skills and confidence to seek support and resources that will help their community project become successfully.

Chief Executive Officer of The Smith Family, Dr Lisa O’Brien, said the Summit provides an example of the scope of learning opportunities offered to students across Australia to ensure they reach their full potential.

“The Smith Family is pleased to partner with Outward Bound for this venture which provides a unique and special opportunity for the young delegates to explore their leadership talents, and motivate themselves to share their new skills and make a difference within their own communities,” Dr O’Brien said.

Outward Bound Australia CEO Benjamin Farinazzo says the National Aspiring Leaders Summit is always a highlight of Outward Bound’s calendar.

“The confidence the young people gain during their week at the Aspiring Leaders Summit with Outward Bound is extraordinary,” Mr Farinazzo said.

“Their drive and commitment to making a difference in their community is inspiring to see.

“We’re pleased to be working in collaboration with The Smith Family’s Learning for Life program through the generous support from The Trust Company through their engaged philanthropy program and feel that our joint effort on the NALS program works towards both organisation’s missions to ensure all young Australians have access to education opportunities that help them achieve their full potential.”

About The Smith Family

The Smith Family is a national charity helping young Australians in need to get the most out of their education, so they can create better futures for themselves.

The Smith Family’s Winter Appeal is now underway. To donate, call 1800 024 069 or visit

About The Trust Company

The Trust Company is one of Australia’s foremost trustee companies, offering trustee services for individuals, companies and charitable trusts from our offices in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

The Trust Company Group has around A$900 billion in charitable funds under administration. Currently serving as trustee for over 800 charitable trusts, this includes the Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarships and the Portia Geach Memorial Award. The Trust Company has recently launched a new Engaged Philanthropy program, designed to create lasting social impact in the community. This is led by 17 strategic partnerships with key non-profit organisations across the sector.


Bringing south-east NSW communities together


An outdoor education initiative aimed at building stronger communities by inspiring future generations has seen  over  100 Year 9 and 10 students from schools across south-east NSW join together to complete a seven-day personal development camp in the wilderness of the Namadgi National Park.

The course was part of not-for-profit organisation Outward Bound’s combined schools Regional Community Partnership program, a strategic initiative sponsored by Boral that is designed to foster growth in communities of regional Australia by providing challenging, experiential learning opportunities for financially, socially or geographically disadvantaged students.

jarita jansma-smith  jordan murray

Students from Bega High School, Sapphire Coast Anglican College, Ulladulla High School, Braidwood Central School, Lumen Christi Catholic College Pambula, Narooma High School and St John the Evangelist Catholic High School Nowra were offered scholarships through Boral to attend the course, aimed to help them develop leadership skills and stretch their comfort zones through physical challenges such as abseiling, rock climbing, hiking and navigating.

rhys mollartJames MacKinnon from Sapphire Coast Anglican College Year 9 said the week proved that if he put his mind to it, he could achieve anything.

“I found the hiking challenging, but Outward Bound has given me an experience in coping with difficult situations and pushing past them,” said James.

Lia Freedman from Bega High School Year 9 agreed that she learnt she could accomplish just about anything by putting in extra effort and showing initiative.

“I was challenged with nearly everything I did – the huge treks up the mountains, the ropes course, the abseiling and even the social side of meeting new people and stepping out of my comfort zone,” said Lia.

“But I loved absolutely everything and Outward Bound has taught me skills that I will use throughout my life.”

Carlee Russel, Year 10 student at Bega High School, said believing in and trusting herself helped her reach her goals during the course.

“I learnt that it is so much easier to do things when you don’t doubt yourself,” said Carlee.

“I also learnt that you should pack lightly, take a hairbrush and make sure you drink bottle doesn’t leak!

“It is a really hard week and it’s challenging, but you learn so much and overall it’s a really fun, amazing experience.”

After the week-long adventure, parents and teachers keenly assembled at Outward Bound’s National Base in ACT to welcome their somewhat dirty but smiling students home and were impressed with the outcomes.

Karen Bulbart, Head Teacher of Student Wellbeing and Outward Bound Coordinator at Ulladulla High School said Year Nine is ideal to throw the challenge out to teenagers to prove mostly to themselves that they are capable of dealing with all obstacles placed in their path.

“To have students 'volunteer' for a tough experience was awesome in itself at the outset,” said Ms Bulbert.

“They knew they were in for freezing temperatures overnight but fun-filled hard yakka days - physically, emotionally and mentally.

“The development in their self-confidence, resilience and growth in determination to achieve is spine tingling.

Being thoughtful toward and inclusive of others is another positive attribute gained. From involvement over a number of years, I can say this latter aspect has become an integral part of previous participants. They confidently and calmly step up as a leader and work alongside others who are struggling, offering encouragement to achieve and complete a task.”

Likewise, Head of Senior School at Sapphire Coast Anglican College Greg Thornton agreed that the students have been impacted in a positive way.

“The students who returned from the Outward Bound adventure were excited to share their experiences with other students at school,” said Mr Thornton.

“They spoke of the physical challenges they endured, working together with others they didn’t know and making lots of new friendships.

“It was a huge natural adrenaline rush, which has put a jump in their step and a skip in their walk.

“Thank you to Outward Bound for motivating and inspiring the youth of today and leaders for tomorrow.”

Outward Bound CEO Benjamin Farinazzo said the program allows not only the youth of the area but the whole community to benefit by instilling a sense of service and responsibility in the participants.

“Students complete physical and mental challenges, such as leading teams on expeditions, facing fears of heights on abseil descents and a three-hour solo period that tests their mental strength and communication skills,” Mr Farinazzo said.

“The program complements each of the schools’ strong philosophical base of holistic education aimed at providing a positive learning environment: positive discipline, healthy recreation, personal improvement, individual success and functioning supportive community.”

For more information on Outward Bound’s Regional Community Partnership programs in NSW, ACT or VIC visit or contact Sas Stahl, free call 1800 267 999.

irah shilling rightbrooke clarke


Governor General recognises community milestone

nowra 100
The Nowra Lions Outward Bound project recently reached a milestone – sending its 100th participant on a challenging leadership course – which was acknowledged by the Governor General on Wednesday evening.

Six local high school students recently returned from the 14-day course designed to inspire confidence and leadership skills in young people.

This pushed the number of participants since the project’s inception more than 20 years ago to over 100.

The Australian Outward Bound courses were instigated by Bruce Spender, a young naval officer who attended a UK course.

President of Nowra Lions Club in 1989, he introduced the concept of sponsoring local young people to attend the course.

In later years Bomaderry Lions Club, Shoalhaven Lionesses and the Bomaderry Bowling Club came on board and Nowra Lion Geoff Stanton has been the Nowra Outward Bound project chairman for the past 16 years.

On Wednesday evening, five of the most recent participants shared their experiences on the course with a captive audience.

The local students were put through their paces hiking, rope climbing, camping and rock climbing in order to learn life skills such as teamwork and navigation.

While the students regaled listeners with tales of twisted ankles, near vertical hikes through thick bush, curious bodily odours, camping in mud, waking to find themselves covered in slugs and days without showers and fresh clothing – each was adamant they would recommend the course to others.

“It led me to believe I could achieve more than I thought possible. Outward Bound challenged me and pushed me to my limits,” said year 11 Bomaderry High School student Maddie Johnston.

“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life but it was also the best and most rewarding thing,” said year 11 Bomaderry student Matthew Bate.

For some it was about overcoming fears.

“I was frightened of heights but was able to get to the top of the ropes. I slept in mud but it was good in a way because it was kind of comfortable,” said year 11 Bomaderry High student Russell McPherson.

“I turned from a shrieking girl who didn’t want to use a bush toilet and who didn’t realise a bush change room meant actually changing behind a bush into a leader with more confidence,” said year 11 Bomaderry student Katie Williams.

Nowra High School student Tyler Watson said one of the highlights for him was reaching the top of Mount Tennent.

“Seeing the view was just fantastic,” he said.

Outward Bound CEO Ben Farinazzo read out a letter from the Governor General Quentin Bryce, who is also the Outward Bound Australia patron, congratulating them on their milestone.


2012 National Aspiring Leaders selected

nals 2012 logo sml

Thirty lucky students have been selected to attend  this year's National Aspiring Leaders Summit at Outward Bound, as part of The Smith Family's Learning for Life program and the Trust Company's Engaged Philanthropy Strategy.

The Summit is one of Australia's premier youth leadership events and sees aspiring leaders from across the country come together to particpante in a seven-day program at Outward Bound’s National Base in Tharwa, ACT. Participants will undertake theory-based  workshops and then implement their learnings through practical, experiential activities that will provide them with the neccessary skills, resilience, confidence and self-awareness  to return home with a Community Action Plan to make  a difference in their local community.

The National Aspiring Leaders Summit is offered as a part of the Smith Family’s Learning for Life Program which supports disadvantaged children and young people throughout their education.  The Learning for Life Program aims to give young Australians the opportunity to develop important life skills, to stay interested in their education and to help them realise their potential.

Congratualtions to the  2012 successful NALS applicants:


James Atkinson, Wagga Wagga High School

Maise Cunningham, Wagga Wagga High School

Zareen Qayyum, Wagga Wagga High School

Rachel Field, Goroken High School

Jasmine Flack, Keira High School

Cynthia Harb, Warilla High School

Samantha Lizama, Fairfield High School

Tascia Mercuri, Kincumber High

Stephanie Mulligan, Narara Valley High School

Adam Withers, Tuggarah Lakes High School



Cassie Black, Tiwi College

Caitlyn Moreen, Tiwi College



Mafata Dumbar, Our Lady’s College

Camilla Firmin, Dakabin State High School,

Jordan Hardiver, Bremer State High School

Dorothy Henderson, Kirwam State High School

Dylan Jackson, St Andrews Lutheran College

Chelsea Mather, Mackay State High School

Amara McKay, St Eugene College

Kateleigh Polsen, Caboolture State High School

Mohammad Rahimi, Cavendish Road State High School

Danielle Stacey, Deception Bay State High School

Jesse Thomson, Alexandra Hills State High School



Steele Ward, Willunga High School



Josh Ferguson, Hoppers Crossing High School

Kacie McLean, Galvin Park High School



Mohamed Beyan, Safety Bay Senior High School

Connaire Ryan, Collies High School

Deseree Riley, Clontarf Aboriginal College

Jarred Rile, Clontarf Aboriginal College



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